pressure make us fat?
learned there is a form of social pressure that promotes obesity. If
and family gain weight, you have a great risk of putting on some pounds
too. This is especially true with friends and siblings who are the same
gender as you.
If you are a woman and your sister becomes obese, you have a 67 percent
chance of getting fat too.
is true even if she lives in another
town and you seldom see her.
Does our awareness that
close friends are
overweight give us "permission" to gain weight too?
Or do we gain
weight in unconscious empathy with them? No one knows.
There are other types of social pressure that are more obvious.
Many people feel these pressures when they start to follow a vegan diet.
Peers, family, and co-workers
Social pressure hits us from a few different sources:
- Peer pressure,
which comes from friends of our own age and socio-economic level. Even
teenagers know about peer pressure.
pressure, from family members of all ages.
- Corporate culture, which our work environment
imposes on us.
When you became a vegan, did your friends, workmates and family members
support you? Or did they challenge you? Some people don't want us to
change. It is easier for them if we
remain overweight. They
want us to go to
restaurants with them. They want us to share family dinners.
we start losing weight, they may feel threatened.
Becoming a vegan
Scientific studies show that a vegan diet is ideal for
weight loss and good health. People often decide to go vegan after
reading books or watching
videos on the subject. The information about weight loss, health, the
animals, and the environment is compelling. Once people know
the facts, they want to tell everyone.
They often are stunned to discover
that their friends and family are not interested. Some people
even have a negative perception of vegans and
vegetarians. Vegans are a
counter-cultural group. Our beliefs and dietary choices go against
societal norms. It is human nature to be uncomfortable with people who
seem to belong in the group.
Social pressure on vegans
If you are a new vegan, negative peer pressure might tempt you to
withdraw from social activities. Don't isolate yourself. Engage other
in conversation about diet and other topics. Listen to what they say
with an open mind
and try to identify with them. Most of us were not raised as vegans and
remember our meat-eating days.
If you are already a committed vegan and you are modifying your diet to
weight, you might feel a little social pressure from
your family. When
you start to avoid processed
foods and eat more simply, your life
will change. It means fewer restaurant meals. It means cooking at home
more often. Potlucks with vegan pals can make this
It is easier to be a vegan when you have vegan friends. One way to
nudge people in that direction is to give them information in the right
form. Give them a taste of some healthy vegan
food, and then provide the recipe. Tell them about a new product or
send them a link to an interesting website.
When someone asks you a question about your diet, keep your
answer short and cheerful. Don't try to tell them everything you know.
And always remember the quote by Albert
Einstein: "Setting an example is not the main means
of influencing another, it is the only means."